Wetsuits and free diving go hand in hand. It gets quite cold the further down you dive and not only that but wetsuits are great for your buoyancy.
Reasons for Wearing a Wetsuit
As I’ve shared in a previous post when it comes to holding your breath being relaxed is the secret. If you are freezing cold, tense and clenching your jaw because the water is cold, your breath isn’t going to last long. This is the main reason I wear a wetsuit while free diving, I prefer to be quite warm and toasty and it does wonders for my breath holding.
The second aspect that is quite important to think about is controlling your buoyancy. The thicker your wetsuit the more buoyant you will be on the surface but the opposite is true at the bottom. The wetsuit compresses as a result of increased water pressure. So as a free diver you will determine ahead of time which depth you hope to achieve or where you become negatively buoyant and won’t need to swim down which is where you start to freefall.
The thinner your wetsuit the less buoyancy change there is but it does make it difficult to find the freefall point. If you are into deep diving then this your wetsuit thickness plays a huge part! For me personally I would say my free dive depth is around the 20m mark. Because of this I prefer to use thin wetsuits that offer me enough warmth to stay relaxed. The hydrodynamics of the suit don’t weigh me down too much.
How To Put on a Freediving Wetsuit
If you have tried to wear a wetsuit before you’ll understand the difficulties of putting on a suit. Well it’s a little more difficult to put on a well fitting free diving wetsuit.
Open cell neoprene is super comfortable and super flexible but is actually quite fragile. Tearing the neoprene is a heart braking ordeal so be sure to take care when sliding into your suit.
Slide into it in the Water
For some putting it on or taking it off in the water is the best way to do it. Definitely not if the water is cold but if you like do so in the shower. Personally, I put it on and struggle on dry land but like to take it off in the water when I’m done. Much easier to slide out of!
This is kinda frowned upon because hey plastic and the ocean but put a plastic bag over your foot and sliding down into the leg of the wetsuit becomes a whole lot easier!
A soapy water mix can make it exceptionally easy to slide into your wetsuit. Very little soap is needed but if you like then prepare a bottle and store it with your suit so you don’t forget! Make sure the soap is environmentally friendly!